Has Religion Really Caused More Violence Throughout History?

If you’ve ever shared your faith with a non-believer, chances are you’ve been hit with the line: “But religion has caused more violence and killed more people throughout history than anything else.” Is it true? It’s certainly been regularly touted in books by the “New Atheists” of late. The daily email devotional The Park Forum highlighted a short piece from Karen Armstrong’s 2015 book “Fields of Blood” that answers that statement very well. It may give you some context in your conversations with non-Christians – especially atheists:


The Evangelical Did It, in the Kitchen, with the Lead Pipe

Check out this commentary by writer Bob Bonebrake, author of King of America on the portrayal of Christians in the media. Well worth reading:

It’s easy to spot the evangelicals in the movies these days. They’re the ones wearing the black hats.  We seem to be well into the era of the Christian bad guy.  Like the killer monk in The Da Vinci Code, more and more conservative Christians are being cast as the villains in popular fiction and political comment these days.  I’ve recently seen a host of television dramas with hypocritical ministers and priests revealed as


A Great Idea for Getting News Coverage

Here’s one of the most effective ways to get noticed by local media and generate positive press coverage:  Take a reporter out to lunch.  That’s right. Simple as that. Chances are in your town, you have newspaper, radio, or TV reporters who cover the subject you’re involved in. If you’re a pastor or ministry leader, someone’s covering the religious beat. If you’re a musician, writer, or artist, some reporter is covering the culture, media, or entertainment beat. There’s business and sports sections in every local paper. Whatever you do for a living, chances are, the local news outlets are covering it. We spend endless hours complaining that we don’t get coverage for our new album, movie, ministry outreach, product launch, or whatever – when the truth is,


Life’s Loaded Question: Do We Really Have a Destiny?

The issue of destiny is loaded question. Nearly everyone wants to believe in the concept. Atheists may believe that there’s no God, no purpose, and no point to life, but it’s pretty tough living that philosophy out in the day-to-day trenches. The idea of destiny gives us a reason to go on, motivation that our lives matter beyond PTA meetings, job reviews, and visits to the local coffee shop. The Christian tradition teaches that God has a purpose and plan for our lives. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, we have a higher calling and a guide to help us navigate our way through this world and the next.

Non-Christian traditions are no different. I was teaching in India recently and met a group of Hindu scholars discussing their own views about destiny. During a recent trip to the United Kingdom, I noticed the TV news reporting the thousands of spiritualists and New Agers meeting at Stonehenge to welcome the summer solstice. The topic of discussion? What does Stonehenge have to do with our destiny? Religious or not, most people want to believe they have a purpose for living, and would find it enormously difficult to go on without that knowledge.

So the question remains: Do we have a destiny, and is it possible to discover it? While writing my new book “One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do” I reached the conclusion that we don’t have a locked down, concrete, unchanging destiny we were born to accomplish. Destiny isn’t a task. It’s not an end point. It’s not something you can check off a to-do list. Your destiny is a moving target. An unexpected divorce doesn’t derail your destiny. The soldier who lost his legs in battle hasn’t lost his destiny. Bankruptcy can’t undermine your destiny. Your purpose is bigger than any obstacle like physical limitations, financial circumstances, being fired, or other failure. Nothing can change the fact that you have a unique reason for being here, and there’s still time to discover it.

I think we’ve spent too much time looking to the idea of destiny as a quick fix, a get-rich scheme, or a stopping point. We think we’ll attend a conference and our destiny will be revealed to us during a workshop or seminar. We hope that it will descend out of the sky or someone will reveal it to us—for only a $49 conference fee.

We have a destiny. We have a purpose. We have one important thing. But it only comes with coaxing, work, and action. Destiny wants to be pursued. It wants to be discovered. Why?

Because it’s in the journey we learn to understand and value what it means.

Comments (1) |

What I Learned About Productivity From Moving from New York to Los Angeles

I’m writing this after an exhausting day packing a rental van for moving. Our daughter and son-in-law Kelsey and Chris have been living in New York City for the last 5 years performing regularly in musical theater. A few months ago they came back to LA for television’s “pilot season” and so many opportunities happened, they decided that it might be better to be based in Los Angeles and commute to New York for various projects. So Kathleen and I flew up last week to


What’s So Offensive About Proselytizing?

Everywhere you go these days people are complaining about proselytizers. “Don’t shove your views on me.” “Don’t tell me what you believe.” Some people have even been sued over it. But it’s interesting that the complaint only seems to happen when it comes to religion (specifically Christianity.) When you tell someone about why you love your new car, or why the new diet is changing your life, they’re happy to hear it.  And nobody complains when someone thinks Islam or Buddhism is wonderful.  But when Christianity transforms your life,


Branding Is Not A Religion

Since I wrote my book “Branding Faith” a number of years ago to address how branding applies to religious and nonprofit organizations, I’ve been amazed at the number of branding companies that have popped up specifically to work with churches.  Many of these companies are very good and doing excellent work.  But I’m also finding that for many, “branding” has become a religion.  I got a call from a religious ministry the other day who said, “We’ve just spent